Yogyakarta is a small and bustling city in Indonesia, lovingly called ‘Jogja’ by the locals. Sharing the highlights of my trip with you all.
How to reach: AirAsia runs direct flights from Singapore with around 2.5 hours flying time.
Where to stay: We stayed at Hyatt Regency and I will highly recommend it. The property is lovely, set amid lush greenery and the service is amazing. I particularly enjoyed their spa and salon which is reasonably priced and the quality is pretty good. We celebrated earth hour at the hotel while watching the Ramayana ballet (fire sequence was good!).
Things to do:
1. Sunrise at Borobudur: Borobudur is a 9th century Buddhist temple which was abandoned when the Javanese converted to Islam. It was discovered years later, buried in jungles and volcanic ash from the eruptions of Mount Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia.
The sunrise at the temple is spectacular to say the least. The sun creeping behind Mount Merapi, first call of the Islamic prayer resonating through the jungle and magnificent Buddha sculptures lighting up as the first rays shine on them– totally worth waking up at 3:45am. Try to reach there atleast by 5:00am to catch the different hues. There are two ticket counters– one is cheaper and allows entry only post 6:00 am (you will miss the actual sunrise) and the other one is a bit more expensive but allows entry anytime after 4:30am. The expensive one is basically sold by Manohara Hotel which has exclusive permission to enter the premises prior to official opening time.
I spent sometime post sunrise exploring the different levels since the temple structure is that of concentric circles with a squarish base. The carvings on the lower levels is beautiful and you must take sometime out to admire them!
2. Mount Merapi: Have you ever been close to an active volcano? Well, until my trip to Jogja I don’t think I had seen a volcano ever. Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia, a country which has an abundance of volcanic activity. It’s last eruption was in 2010 and since then parts of the areas that were destroyed have been converted to a museum. We took an off the road open keep tour to explore the area and go up and close to the volcano. From our final destination, we could easily see the crater and the path of the lave from the last eruption. It was an amazing clear and beautiful day with dreamy skies which meant our pictures needed no filter.
3. Sunset at Prambanan: Prambanan is a 9th century, Hindu temple complex dedicated to the trinity i.e. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu and their vehicles. It’s a beautiful temple complex, though if you have been to Cambodia or Ayutthaya, it will look very familiar. We weren’t very hopeful on the sunset as it was a cloudy day but the changing hues in the sky and the silhouettes very quite stunning! Be sure to reach there before 5 pm because the ticket counter close early. Also, the temple closes at 6 pm but been though we were literally chased out by the guards we waited outside the gates to catch a breathtaking sunset!
Food: We pretty much ate at the hotel most of the times and food was good. We tried Soma Yoga, a vegan eatery near fields and quite liked the food. I thoroughly enjoyed Jogja’s noodle soups; especially in the rainy weather.